President Robert Mugabe yesterday called on police to be impartial in dealing with political violence, in the veteran ruler’s strongest rebuke yet of the security forces.
Addressing a joint meeting of Zanu PF’s central committee and national councils of the two MDC factions in Harare, President Mugabe said the political violence rocking the country was a negation of values of the liberation struggle.
Police have been accused of failing to act when Zanu PF supporters engage n violence, only to overreact in cases involving other parties.
“There is a complaint that the police are doing nothing,” President Mugabe said.
“But if you ask them like on Monday following the violence in Chitungwiza, they say we are not allowed at the meetings and when people fight, we won’t know who started that.
“We want the police to be the people’s police and not be the enemies of the people. That’s what we fought for.”
Only two MDC-T supporters have been arrested in connection with the Chitungwiza violence, but State media on Monday splashed pictures of Zanu PF and MDC-T members engaged in battle.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who spoke after President Mugabe, said security agents must stop being in the forefront of intimidating people.
“State organs must not belong to any political party, but to all Zimbabweans,” he said.
“I urge the police to be non-partisan and to arrest anyone even from MDC, and do so even if they are Zanu PF.
“Zimbabwe wants a new era where knives, machetes, knobkerries and guns
are no longer fashionable as campaign tools. Let us differ with dignity.”
He said he had told from Mugabe of the embarrassment he suffered when MPs were assaulted by known Zanu PF members inside Parliament while police watched.
No one has been arrested for the July incident.
MDC president Welshman Ncube said: “When people believe that we as leaders are against violence, they will not act against what we advice them to do. Our problem is that the rank and file does not believe in our sincerity.”
President Mugabe said gatherings of political parties must not be disrupted and political parties should not force people to attend their rallies.
“We compete even for girls, but if you are not a handsome boy like President Mugabe, you won’t win and you can’t beat her up for rejecting you.”
Mugabe said perpetrators of violence were known and they used money to influence gullible youths.
“After this, let’s commit heart and soul to ensure that Zimbabwe has no violence,” he said. Ncube said the meeting was a demonstration of commitment at the highest level to working together and demonstrate tolerance.